Barely a month goes by without one political gaffe making headlines, but the latest involving Boris Johnson's director of political strategy, James McGrath, does not seem cut and dried.
It was triggered by an article written by Darcus Howe in The Voice, in which Howe suggested that 'Boris Johnson might just trigger a mass exodus of older Caribbean migrants back to our homelands'. Online journalist Marc Wadsworth, a Labour activist, pointed this out to McGrath. McGrath retorted: 'Well let them go if they don't like it here.'
Wadsworth took offence to this and felt insulted at also being called 'sunshine'. McGrath, who has spent the past eight months defending his charge during a mayoral election campaign, was sacked. It was his job to deal with accusations of racism hurled at Johnson.
I have to declare an interest as I know McGrath, an ex-colleague of mine. His levels of professionalism were recognised from the day he joined Conservative Central Office. On a personal level, he is not a racist. It is unfortunate that the full context of the conversation (with Wadsworth) was not printed in many newspapers.
This has to stop. When a grown man is offended by being called sunshine and an honourable man is sacked, something is wrong.
There was always going to be a sprint to see who could claim the first scalp in Johnson's shiny new team. Those in the team have shown they are utterly ruthless. David Cameron said Johnson was right to let him go. Many Tory MPs reluctantly agreed with him and see McGrath's sacking as the cost of doing business; his short-lived career at City Hall was the price of Government.
This is a shame; perhaps the Conservatives could have ridden the storm? At the foundations of this regrettable tale are Howe and his ill-judged thoughts on London's Caribbean community.
Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser who formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team